Despite guidelines in the Cork County Development Plan, council planners say around 50% of the county is still “open to consideration” as regards the erection of wind farms.
This includes huge swathes of rural land, especially in east Cork, the north-west of the county, and from Carrigaline to the west as far as Dunmanway.
However, planners say that, as a rule, wind farms should not be built in urban areas, metropolitan Cork, or green-belt areas where householders could be affected by noise and shadow flicker.
Earlier this month, a couple brought a High Court challenge to a decision granting permission for a wind farm near their home.
Klaus Balz and Hanna Heuback, from Inchigeelagh, want the High Court to quash An Bord Pleanála’s decision to grant permission to Cleanrath Windfarm Ltd to construct 11 turbines up to a height of 126m.
The couple operate a shrubbery business located some 650m from the nearest turbine on the proposed development.
The county council had previously refused permission because it considered that would result in destruction of a habitat of high ecological value.
Meanwhile, Ardglass Wind Turbine Action Group has been fighting a long battle to prevent a company building 11 turbines in a rural area five miles north of Midleton.
It is believed that the 256 objections made to the county council represents the largest number of objections ever made against a project in Co Cork.
The council recently refused planning permission for the project, but locals believe the company will appeal to An Bord Pleanála, and they are prepared to take their case to the High Court if necessary.
The Government is intent on developing more wind farms and generating more power from other renewable energy sources.
Senior Cork County Council planner Andrew Hind said the county wanted to play its part in helping to meet the target of having 16% of power used nationally generated from such sources by 2020.
The County Development Plan also mentions the development of off-shore wind farms and wave energy.
It says that, in particular, the ports of Cork and Castletownbere have significant potential to service future off-shore wind energy development in the future.
It is anticipated that much of the work in developing off-shore energy will be carried out by the Irish Marine Research Cluster in Ringaskiddy and the Hydraulics and Maritime Research Centre at UCC.
Council planners also believe there is significant potential to harness more solar energy and to develop more bioenergy from crops.
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